It may be time to dust off the old Pong paddles, ladies and gentleman. After more than 20 years, Atari is coming back with a brand new home gaming console. Much of this new console remains a mystery right now, but at some point in the presumably not-too-distant future, we will be able to get our hands on a brand new console from Atari and party like it's 1977.
In a recent interview with VentureBeat, without revealing all that much about it, Atari CEO Fred Chesnais announced that the company is indeed getting ready to put out their first console since 1993's failed Jaguar. The system is going to be titled Atari Box, or Ataribox, the company has yet to make it clear how it is going to be stylized yet, and not much else about the mysterious new console has been revealed thus far. Here is Chesnais' very simple statement about the news of Atari's forthcoming console.
"We're back in the hardware business."
To say that Atari is influential to the world of gaming would be a pretty serious understatement. The Atari 2600 revolutionized home gaming and paved the way for companies like Nintendo, and eventually Sony and Microsoft, to have tremendous success in the home space as well. Prior to that, video games were pretty much relegated to arcades. Atari was the first company to really bring the idea home with true success. Somewhat ironically, it was the success of Nintendo and Sony the in 1990s that pushed Atari out of the home gaming market, after the Jaguar failed in truly amazing fashion against consoles like the Super Nintendo and the Playstation.
In recent years, Atari, which was founded by Nolan Bushnell, has been much more focused on mobile gaming. They have been re-releasing and remaking many of their classic games for both iOS and Android devices. But that hasn't been enough to help the company thrive in the modern gaming landscape. Atari was forced to file for bankruptcy protection in 2013. So, needless to say, they are in need of a big hit. The company getting back into the console gaming market could be exactly what they need. But there are a lot of questions we have at this point.
For one, there is no release date, or even a timetable for release of the Atari Box. It also isn't clear what kind of console this will be. Is it going to be meant to compete with the likes of the Xbox One, Playstation 4 and the Nintendo Switch, which has exceeded expectations since its recent launch? Or, is it going to be more akin to the NES Classic Edition, and play old Atari games and maybe some select few new ones? Another thing to consider is that gaming consoles aren't just for games anymore. They are multimedia devices that many people who aren't even big gamers use. So, will the Atari Box incorporate those elements as well? What we can say, thanks to a brief teaser video released by Atari, is that it will have the classic wood paneling of the Atari 2600, which is pretty cool. You can check out the Atari Box teaser for yourself below.